5 ICD-10 preparation priorities

Oct. 1 is approaching, and it seems like this will be the year that the ICD-10 transition is here to stay.

Here are five priorities for healthcare organizations to remember while preparing for ICD-10, offered by ICD10 Monitor.

1. Communication efforts. Everybody in a healthcare organization needs to know ICD-10 is coming, so a strong communication and ICD-10 marketing plan will be critical to preparedness, according to the report. Constantly remind employees of the upcoming deadline, and meet regularly with coders, physicians and health IT management to discuss ICD-10 implementation goals and updates.

2. Coder refresher training. Coders need to remain up to date and engaged in ICD-10 happenings. The report suggests building time for refresher training into coders' schedules, such as requiring a review of guidelines, reading articles about ICD-10, audio conferences or online courses.

3. Coder practice time. Hospitals should allow coders time to practice with ICD-10 to enhance familiarity with the new system. Additionally, the report suggests allowing coders to use actual medical records when practicing instead of made-up records or diagnostic statements, as the real record will be more productive and realistic.

4. Specialty-specific training for physicians. EHR templates need to be updated to include details for ICD-10, and physicians need to know how to use the new documentation requirements. The report suggests keeping such training sessions brief and only discussing what physicians need to know about their own documentation.

5. Changing staffing needs. Coder productivity is likely to decrease when ICD-10 goes live, so health IT directors and managers should address the issue now. The report suggests management hire extra coders, consider remote coders, consider retention strategies requiring coders to stay with organizations for a certain period of time and ensure salaries are competitive.

More articles on ICD-10:

Surveys disagree on cost of ICD-10 implemnetation for small practices
GAO: CMS is ready for ICD-10 transition
Could an ICD-10 delay threaten national security?

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